Hard Realities

Part 1

Copyright © James Henry Graf, 1996 - 2001

Unlimited Non-Commercial Distribution Permitted

 Hard realities sink in slowly. The mind rejects anything that challenges its basic assumptions. Who is prepared to learn that America would abuse and torment its own people, and even thwart their escape to foreign lands? Who could possibly imagine that three of the best governments on earth would reject an American's application for political asylum, aiding and abetting the United States in violating its own laws, their laws, and international law? Who but the victim, stripped of illusion, educated by bitter experience, could accept such realities? The victim, then, must tell his story honestly and with conviction, trusting truth to act as its own prosecuting attorney.

 A whistleblower (1) who supports the human rights of all, I have never used or advocated violence. I am a lifelong liberal Democrat who demonstrated against the War in Vietnam, wrote letters in opposition to the Nixon Administration, and protested American policy in El Salvador. No nation has ever charged me with a crime.

 Nevertheless, because of what I believe, say, and write, because of what I know and have tried to communicate, my country has subjected me to seven thousand days of surveillance, defamation, persecution, terrorism, mental torture, and more, without recourse or effective remedy (2). The media will not reveal the truth of my experience. No lawyer will represent me. No major human rights organization will speak for me. No legislator will respond. No law enforcement authority will investigate. I am a non-person, ignored or rejected by all.

 I have charged the United States of America with multifarious human rights crimes dating back at least to 1982. Though generally dismissed with a condescending smirk, I have also made allegations of torture, starting in 1987, with an electromagnetic device. Among other capabilities, the torture weapon can read human thoughts (3). This is not a delusion. I am sane and very intelligent. The technology really exists (4).

 Discontented Americans often hear the advice "If you don't like it here, go somewhere else." The assumption that Americans are free to leave the country is universal. The hard American reality, however, is that those of us who know some of the USA's dirty little secrets can't leave.

 There is a new Berlin Wall, a new Iron Curtain. It is not physical, but virtual -- a barrier of surveillance, harassment, interference, disinformation, intimidation, and corruption that pervades and surrounds the United States and infiltrates the territories of other sovereign states. This wall is buttressed by the narrow-minded, mean-spirited attitudes and ridiculous "safe country" assumptions of "Fortress Europe" (5).

 Such a wall is deemed necessary by an American government utterly contemptuous of its own law, Constitution, and treaty obligations, a government that violates human rights with impunity, corrupts the agencies mandated to expose such violations, and deprives the victims of all recourse, all support, all relief, all escape.

 The United States is unquestionably the most powerful and influential country in the world. So great is this nation's economic and military power, so pervasive the influence of its diplomatic and intelligence forces, that countries deeply involved with the USA as military allies or trading partners are unwilling -- or simply afraid -- to do anything that would displease or embarrass American officials. However sincere the asylum-seeker, however well-founded his fear of persecution, if he comes from the USA, he is likely to be rejected, and may, in fact, be illegally repatriated. I was, three times, by three different European countries.

 My first attempt to escape from America began on August 28, 1991 with a flight from New York to the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Though disabled, I had with me about three thousand dollars in traveler's checks and a cashier's check for over eighteen thousand dollars (my share of marital assets after divorce). On or about September 3, I applied for political asylum in the Netherlands, explaining that American authorities had subjected me to persecution and mental torture because of my political beliefs and because of my having "blown the whistle" on police corruption.

 At the immigration office on Waterlooplein, tears welled up in my eyes as I tried to describe how difficult it was for me to leave the country I had always believed in, the nation for which my great-grandfather had died in the Civil War. The interviewer accepted my application. After officials fingerprinted me, one communicated a hard Dutch reality: "We have good relations with your government and we do not wish to do anything to jeopardize those relations." He instructed me to report to the Social Service office on the other side of Amsterdam. An official there revealed that the government had ordered him not to process my application further. The woman who next interviewed me had the same last name as mine (probably spelled "Graaf"). Verging on tears and probably intimidated, she explained that Dutch authorities would not send me to a refugee reception facility or provide me with housing, food, or medical care, would not help me obtain fresh medication for my hypertension despite my willingness to pay for it. Because of my national origin, the Netherlands thus withheld from me all the social services normally provided to refugees.

 Devoid of help or advice -- staff at Amsterdam's Amnesty International office had told me to seek psychiatric help -- I withdrew my application for political asylum on or about September 4, 1991. Before returning my passport, immigration authorities required my signature on an untranslated statement in Dutch indicating that my decision had been voluntary. I complained verbally of coercion, but signed anyway. They gave me seven days to leave the country, even though an American passport normally entitled one to a three-month automatic visa in the Netherlands.

 On the night of September 12, 1991, the train to Denmark carried my petition to a different venue, also beautiful, but even less hospitable. At Copenhagen's immigration office six days later, when the officer heard my request for political asylum as a victim of persecution and torture in the United States, he laughed out loud. I asked him why. He apologized and said "We don't get many Americans here."

 Once officials determined that my passport was genuine, they sent me to the Sandholm Refugee Center in Birkerød, about 20 miles north of Copenhagen. When the officers at Sandholm's front gate saw my passport and heard my request for asylum, they also laughed in my face. I told them that my own government had subjected me to persecution and torture while denying me the equal protection of American laws. They laughed again, brutally. This time there were no apologies. One of them emerged from the booth and led me to a small building behind a locked gate. On the way, he berated me, saying "Do you have any idea how much money this is costing? You're stupid, stupid!"

 I was asylum-seeker UDL 88-051.481, the last of several refugees registered that day (6). Hearing that two trunks to be shipped from the Amsterdam train station contained extremely important documents relevant to my case, Mr. Regnar Rasmussen remarked "We'll have to get those trunks." Perhaps they did, perhaps not. I never saw my trunks or the documents contained therein during my stay in Denmark. Both the police and the Danish Red Cross flatly refused to help me secure them.

 The next day, as instructed, I gave Mr. Poul Madsen all the money in my possession. He told me that the police would convert my American currency and traveler's checks to Danish currency and hold the funds on account, then use the cashier's check to open an account in my name at Bikuben Bank in Allerød. My asylum application, he said, would be processed under "normal procedure." The police would charge me for expenses, but not in excess of the interest earned by my money at the bank.

 No such account was ever established. As of September 19, 1991, my available cash totaled 1500 Danish Kroner (around $200). The bank claimed in November that the check had not cleared. The police displayed no interest or concern. In December, they gave it back to me, claiming that it had bounced. This was an insulting lie.

 Sandholm was a playground for American and other agents, who attempted to diminish my credibility by impugning my sanity. Other refugees, as well as Danish Red Cross personnel, questioned me repeatedly about my reasons for being there. Some of this was in earnest, but much of it represented attempts to provoke anger, instill fear or anxiety, or induce depression. Several persons told me, "off the record," that an American had little or no chance of obtaining asylum there. One said that granting me asylum would be like slapping George Bush's face. Persons who probably had no business being there also instigated sexual provocations involving several young women and at least two young girls. Though I was not fully aware of it at the time, American agents were engaging in unconscionable exploitation of young females.

 Mr. Madsen's assurance of "normal procedure" proved perfidious. On October 28, 1991, at the police post in the camp, Mr. Benny Nielsen, with the assistance of J. Kheir as translator, read to me the decision of October 25, 1991 by Erling Vestergaard of the Directorate for Aliens (7). This found my application "manifestly unfounded" and denied me any right of appeal, despite the explicit "formfilling" statement I had made and the documentation included with it. Mr. Kheir told me that my allegations, even if proved, would constitute only "light reasons" for granting asylum. Torture is a "light reason" in Denmark. That is hard Danish reality.

 I have since realized that the term "manifestly unfounded" generally refers to specious "safe country of origin" assumptions. The argument is that a free, safe, democratic republic never denies anybody the equal protection of the laws, never deprives anybody of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, always permits aggrieved individuals a form of redress, always provides a remedy. That such a government even permits its critics to obtain passports and does not hinder them from leaving their country, moreover, is considered proof positive that no asylum-seeker from such a place could possibly have a well founded fear of persecution.

 The reasoning is cute, but perverse. Besides ignoring documented reality, it discriminates on the basis of country of origin -- a flagrant violation of Article 3 of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Of course, the Danish Government did not have to worry about my documents. Most of these were conveniently out of my possession. The "manifestly unfounded" decision deprived me of the right to legal representation and appeal. Without my money, I could neither hire a private lawyer nor travel elsewhere in Europe.


  1. In 1984 and 1985, I wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York State Special Prosecutor, respectively, revealing unlawful activities involving my employer, the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, and corrupt police, prosecutors, and intelligence agents.

  2. My letter of January 24, 1996 to the Human Rights Bureau of the US State Department accused the United States and the States of New York and New Jersey of violating nineteen separate articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It cited as well a pattern of stonewalling and evasion by federal law enforcement agencies. No response was ever forthcoming. A revised and updated version sent to Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck on September 9, 1997 met the same fate.

  3. For a discussion of this technology, see Gary Selden, "Machines That Read Minds," Science Digest (a Hearst publication), October, 1981. It appears to have developed from Robert G. Malech's 1976 device for the remote detection of brainwaves (US Patent Number 3,951,134).

  4. See John St. Clair Akwei, "Covert Operations of the US National Security Agency," Nexus, Volume 3, Number 3 (April-May, 1996), p. 17. I have experienced everything Mr. Akwei describes, and more. This link leads to the text.

  5. In its Resolution on the Asylum Policy of Certain Member States, dated June 19, 1987, the European Parliament had decried "the flagrant violations of human rights and international law perpetrated by border officials who, in particular at Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, and London airports, are forcibly returning ever increasing numbers of asylum-seekers to the countries through which they have passed previously or even those countries from which they have had to flee," and called upon Member States to desist from such practices.

  6. See "Danish Refugee Intake Document" on this web site.

  7. See "Danish Asylum Decision" on this web site.

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